I didn’t think anything when I saw a post over at FanGraphs yesterday advertising an internship opportunity with the Houston Astros. The job is an IT thing, developing database software and all kinds of stuff I don’t know anything about. It’s unpaid.
But when you get into the comments, there are a lot of people going off on the Astros over this, arguing that an unpaid internship for such a highly-skilled position that will produce a valuable, tangible product for them is unethical at best, and possibly illegal. One commenter links to this article as a point of reference.
I know nothing about the laws in this area so I refer you to the commenters there and appeal to the expertise of others in the interests of assessing this. I will say, however, that it’s long been the case that baseball teams have paid little if anything for top-shelf office talent, using the sexiness of a baseball team on one’s resume as a lure. And the fact is, they can get away with it because there are thousands who would love the chance to work in baseball, even for peanuts or, in this case, less than peanuts.
Illegal? I dunno. Simply wrong? Possibly. But I bet they have no trouble finding someone willing to take the job for nothing, because that’s how it has always gone in front offices.
(hat tip to Alex for the heads up)
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.